30th Nov 2023


MEPs focus on Belarus, digital rules This WEEK

  • European Parliament president David Sassoli (l) will welcome Belarusian democratic opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Strasbourg (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

MEPs are heading to Strasbourg for a plenary meeting even though Covid-19 infections are on the rise all over Europe, and governments are introducing restrictive measures again.

Some 200 lawmakers will stay away because of health safety concerns.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The debate over a successor for David Sassoli, the centre-left Italian president of the European Parliament will heat up next week.

The centre-right European People's Party group will elect its candidate on Wednesday evening (24 November), for the post in January.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola and Dutch MEP Esther de Lange are among the candidates, but more can put themselves forward by Monday evening.

The EPP insists that according to the coalition agreement at the start of this parliament's mandate, their group should assume the presidency position.

Foreign debate

On Tuesday (23 November), MEPs will debate the situation in Belarus, and Minsk pushing thousands of migrants to the Polish border, creating a humanitarian and security emergency.

On Wednesday, the exiled leader of the Belarusian democratic opposition Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will address the plenary in Strasbourg.

MEPs will also debate the escalation of tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday.

The leader of the Bosnian Serbs in Bosnia, Miroslav Dodik, said that their parliament will take decisions to withdraw from the country's army, courts and tax system this month, risking unravelling the federation that secured peace in the last decades.

On Tuesday (23 November), EU affairs ministers meeting in Brussels to prepare the EU summit in December, and take a closer look at the EU-UK talks on sorting out the post-Brexit trade issues in Northern Ireland.

Tough votes

MEPs in the internal market committee will vote on Monday (22 November) on new rules for Facebook, Amazon and Google, within the so-called EU Digital Markets Act.

The new legislation, proposed by commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager last year, would try to roll back unfair practices by the US market-dominating tech giants.

MEPs will also vote in the parliament's Strasbourg plenary meeting on the final approval of the common agriculture policy on Tuesday.

The new rules, which guide the distribution of EU funding, will aim to protect local food-production and promote sustainability in farming.

MEPs on Monday will talks about European strategy for critical raw materials, and a vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Lithium, beryllium, cobalt and many others are necessary for consumer electronics, health, steel-making, defence, and aviation.

Wrap up

MEPs on Wednesday will debate the results of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will also face MEPs on Wednesday to discuss the results of the results of the October EU summit.

Lawmakers will also have a final vote on the 2022 EU budget, which was secured with talks in governments last week.

Nearly 200 MEPs set to shun Strasbourg over Covid spike

Almost 200 MEPs want to use remote voting rather than attend next week's session in Strasbourg, due to Covid-19 worries. The parliament's senior administrator has instructed staff to follow Belgian four-day home working rules - as has the European Commission.

Central Europe struggles with new Covid-19 wave

A new wave of Covid-19 infections has been sweeping through central Europe, where the vaccination rate is generally below the EU average - partly due to low trust in institutions.

UN climate talks and passengers' right in focus This WEEK

The two-week UN climate talks (#COP28) will kick off on Thursday. Earlier this week, the EU Commission will unveil a proposal to improve passengers' rights and Nato foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels.

Russia loses seat on board of chemical weapons watchdog

Russia lost its seat on the board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the first time in the organisation's history — while Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania were elected to the executive council.

Latest News

  1. EU offers Turkey upgrade, as Sweden nears Nato entry
  2. Russia loses seat on board of chemical weapons watchdog
  3. Finland's closure of Russia border likely violates asylum law
  4. The EU's 'no added sugars' fruit-juice label sleight-of-hand
  5. EU belittles Russia's Lavrov on way to Skopje talks
  6. Member states stall on EU ban on forced-labour products
  7. EU calls for increased fuel supplies into Gaza
  8. People-smuggling profits at historic high, EU concedes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  2. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  3. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  4. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  5. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  2. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  5. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  6. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us